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Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz - Answers Belie (Baggage Room Records)

21 August 2023

Bay area folk duo Eric Anders and Mark O’Bitz are back with yet another album, entitled Answers Belie. Their eighth full-length together, not counting the four EPs, the group continues to mine for gold, and this time they’re augmented by a band that lends a full-bodied, warm sound to the proceedings. Once again the duo tackle a wide range of subjects from climate change to crumbling relationships, but there is a consistency throughout in the uncertainty songwriter Anders holds for the future on both large and small scales.

The album begins with a trio of political protest songs which seem connected thematically. As the three songs progress an attitude emerge that begins by bemoaning the current state of American politics on “Slow Movin’ Nightmare” while “Force of Old” and “Long Ol’ Civil War” muse on the threat of impending war, the latter using Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address as its foundation. Elsewhere, however, the album shifts to the more personal, although still tackling larger issues. “Eyes, A Child, Bedside” is a tribute to Anders’ grandmother that takes aim at the state of American healthcare, and “I Hope Time Will Be Kind” is dedicated to his three children, a beautiful song that is simultaneously concerned with the planet he is leaving to the younger generations.

For such a prolific duo, their output remains consistent and their songwriting as strong as ever. Answers Belie shows a growing maturity for the pair as well, as they do an outstanding job of the ever difficult task of capturing world issues in succinct yet profound ways.